Minority Business Listings Inc. (MBL) held a job fair which attracted approximately 300 students

Local teens attended a job fair to learn about summer jobs that will pay them $10 an hour for up to 25 hours a week for six weeks.

Held on Saturday to give teens a boost on summer employment, Minority Business Listings Inc. (MBL) held a job fair that attracted approximately 300 students who connected with more than 20 employers on the lawn of the MBL office located at 15 SE Seventh St.

Wayne Fields, CEO of Minority Business Listings Inc., left, speaks to students during the job fair.

From 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, MBL will host a professional training session at Lincoln Middle School, 1001 SE 12th St.

The job fair was an introduction to the TeensWork Alachua summer youth employment program that will be operated by MBL with a $125,000 grant from the Children’s Trust of Alachua County.

This program will provide summer employment opportunities for local teens ages 14-18.

Participants will be required to complete 5-10 hours of job readiness training and banking skills training prior to placement.

“I love that these kids want to work,” said Wayne Fields, CEO of MBL Inc. “We want to make sure people get hired.”

After seeing the decline of job training programs for teens, especially summer job training programs, Fields said he wanted to continue his mission by creating job opportunities for local youth.

“With all the violence going on, we decided to bring back a program like this,” Fields said.

The program will train students in resume writing, work etiquette and teach them how to dress professionally before starting work on the jobs that will last from June 6 to July 15.

The program will accept 220 students in total. MBL will select 105 students as part of their professional training, while Goodwill will select 115, Fields said.

“Through this program, children will learn the fundamentals of life,” Fields said. “Even after the program ends, we hope that the 17- and 18-year-old students will continue their work.”

A successful program this summer could lead to future funding to help provide more jobs for youth in the community,” Fields said.

“If they (Children’s Trust of Alachua County) like what we’ve done, we hope to continue in January,” Fields said.

Johnnie Jones III, CEO of The Capstone Agency, was one of the employers at the job fair. The agency is a print and digital marketing solutions company in Gainesville.

Jones said he found employment through job training programs like the MBL TeensWork Alachua summer youth employment program by attending JTPA job fairs when he was a teenager.

“Employers are here to help students, and I’m glad job fairs like this are still happening today,” Jones said.

Breon Segree and Shameela Segree, parents of Alexcia Segree, brought Alexcia to the job fair.

“We wanted to bring her to this event so she could get familiar with the work process,” Brepm Segree said. “I had to do it myself and got jobs knocking on doors.”

Angela Jones and her son, Jaden Jones, a student at Buchholz High School, said the job fair was a great opportunity to find jobs that were hiring in the area.

“I was excited when I heard about it,” he said. “I hope to be hired this summer.”

Her mother said the program is a great way for young children to stay positively occupied when the school year is over.

“It’s a great opportunity to give young children something to do over the summer,” she said. “This job fair can help them get their feet wet in their careers.”

Young adults are the future workforce and it’s important for them to know what’s out there, said Mike Powell, job placement specialist for MBL TeensWork Alachua’s summer youth employment program.

“Students, we really want you to be involved because you’ll be the ones doing the work,” Powell said.

Program participants will be paid by direct deposit each week, Fields said.

“This job fair lets people know that there are opportunities out there that you never thought of as a career,” Powell said. “People can have a bright and profitable future.”

Fields said the people working alongside him this summer program will be Powell; Malcolm Dixon, an investment specialist; Boderick Johnson, investment manager; Dewitt Lewis, Project Development Manager; Flozelle Fields, Finance Coordinator and Avis Butler, who currently works as an advisor to MBL Inc.

For more information, visit www.mblistings.org.

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